Empetrichthys latos - Miller, 1948
Pahrump Poolfish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Empetrichthys latos Miller, 1948 (TSN 165691)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103289
Element Code: AFCNB03010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Other Bony Fishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Cyprinodontiformes Goodeidae Empetrichthys
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Empetrichthys latos
Taxonomic Comments: Subspecies latos is the sole extant member of the genus Empetrichthys; the other species (E. merriami, Ash Meadows poolfish) and the other subspecies of E. latos are extinct. The species of Crenichthys and Empetrichthys were removed from the family Cyprinodontidae (order Atheriniformes) and placed in the family Goodeidae (order Cyprinodontiformes) by Parenti (1981). Crenichthys and Empetrichthys were assigned to the family Empetrichthyidae by Miller and Smith (1986). The 1991 AFS checklist (Robins et al. 1991) retained these genera in the Cyprinodontidae, pending confirmatory evidence for change based on additional character suites. MtDNA data of Grant and Riddle (1995) indicate that the phylogenetic affinity of Crenichthys and Empetrichthys is with the family Goodeidae rather than with the representative fundulines, poeciliids, or cyprinodontines.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 29Nov2011
Global Status Last Changed: 20Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Extirpated from native range in three springs in Pahrump Valley, Nevada; introduced populations now exist in a few warm springs elsewhere in Nevada; one of the three populations is stable; populations face ongoing threats from introduced non-native aquatic species and losses of habitat due to probable increases in human uses of groundwater.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (05Dec1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Nevada (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (11Mar1967)
Comments on USESA: Proposed rule to reclassify from endangered to threatened was withdrawn (Federal Register, 2004 April 2).
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This species historically was restricted to 3 separate springs in Pahrump Valley, southern Nye County, Nevada; now it exists only where introduced outside the Pahrump Valley (Page and Burr 2011). Formerly it occurred in Raycraft Ranch Spring (subspecies concavus) and Pahrump Springs (subspecies pahrump). Subspecies latos: is extirpated in its native habitat at Manse Ranch Spring (dewatered). In the early 2000s, transplanted populations of subspecies latos occurred at three locations: Corn Creek Springs on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Clark County; Shoshone Springs (Ponds), Spring Valley, White Pine County (on BLM's Shoshone Ponds Natural Area); and an irrigation reservoir, fed by Sandstone Spring, at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Clark County (Minckley et al. 1991; USFWS 1993, 2004). All are on public lands.

Area of Occupancy: 3-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy is less than 10 sq km (based on the 1 km x 1 km grid system).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by just a few occurrences (subpopulations).

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Based on information from annual surveys utilizing mark and recapture methods, as well as informal visual surveys, the population at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is currently the largest population of poolfish, estimated at 16,775 individuals in 2003 (see USFWS 2004).

In the late 1990s, the population of poolfish at Corn Creek Springs was lost as a result of the effects of illegally introduced nonnative species. A new, isolated refugium for the poolfish was built at Corn Creek Springs in 2002, and that now small population is being rebuilt through reintroductions (see USFWS 2004).

The third poolfish population at the Shoshone Ponds Natural Area historically remained stable since the 1980s, with only natural population fluctuations affecting its status; however, surveys in 2003 indicated a significant decrease in the population to less than 1,000 individuals (see USFWS 2004).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: E. l. pahrump is extinct due to groundwater pumping; E. l. concavus is extinct due to groundwater pumping and springhead filling (Minckley et al. 1991), and E. l. latos was extirpated in native range when its spring dried up as a result of excessive groundwater pumping for irrigation. The Corn Creek population was extirpated as a result of an illegal introduction of non-native crayfish, with non-native goldfish possibly also contributing to the decline (USFWS 2004). Illegal introductions of nonnative aquatic species currently pose the most significant threat to the existence of this species.

Long-term declines in spring flows due to groundwater pumping from areas surrounding existing poolfish habitat remain a threat to all the populations. Threats to water sources necessary for poolfish habitat have been minimized to the extent possible by the managing Federal and State agencies (USFWS 2004). However, it is likely that demands on the groundwater system to accommodate extensive human population growth and development in southern Nevada could threaten the future existence of the poolfish.

Recent residential development in and around the native habitat at Manse Ranch continues to modify the native habitat, and future residential and commercial development in the Pahrump Valley may limit the available water resources and preclude the opportunity to re-establish a poolfish population in this location (USFWS 2004).

Poolfish populations at Corn Creek and Shoshone Ponds Natural Area are vulnerable to vandalism (USFWS 2004).

Jelks et al. (2008) categorized this species as Endangered, due to present or threatened destruction, modification, or reduction of habitat or range; other natural or anthropogenic factors that affect a taxon's existence, including impacts of nonindigenous organisms, hybridization, competition, and/or predation; and restricted range.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: The largest of the three populations is stable, while the other two declined recently (USFWS 2004).

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: The species is completely extirpated from its native range.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) This species historically was restricted to 3 separate springs in Pahrump Valley, southern Nye County, Nevada; now it exists only where introduced outside the Pahrump Valley (Page and Burr 2011). Formerly it occurred in Raycraft Ranch Spring (subspecies concavus) and Pahrump Springs (subspecies pahrump). Subspecies latos: is extirpated in its native habitat at Manse Ranch Spring (dewatered). In the early 2000s, transplanted populations of subspecies latos occurred at three locations: Corn Creek Springs on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Clark County; Shoshone Springs (Ponds), Spring Valley, White Pine County (on BLM's Shoshone Ponds Natural Area); and an irrigation reservoir, fed by Sandstone Spring, at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Clark County (Minckley et al. 1991; USFWS 1993, 2004). All are on public lands.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NV Clark (32003), Nye (32023)*, White Pine (32033)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
15 Las Vegas Wash (15010015)+
16 Spring-Steptoe Valleys (16060008)+, Ivanpah-Pahrump Valleys (16060015)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A 2-inch fish.
Reproduction Comments: Apparently spawns at any time of year, but spawning activities peak in the spring (probably March-April).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Habitat Comments: Habitat consists of shallow warm springs (23.3-25.3 C) (Lee et al. 1980), such as alkaline mineral springs and outflow streams (Matthews and Moseley 1990). In natural habitat, larger individuals frequent more open deeper waters, whereas young occupy shallower more weedy areas (Kobetich et al. 1980). Females move to remote areas of springs during the breeding periods (Kobetich et al. 1980).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Described as "omnivorous," this species apparently feeds on a wide variety of available plant and animal material (Kobetich et al. 1980).
Phenology Comments: In transplanted populations young appear more active during the day, adults appear more active at night (Kobetich et al. 1980). Individuals are inactive in winter and early spring (USFWS 1993).
Length: 5 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: As of the late 1980s, efforts were being made to rehabilitate Manse Spring. Management problems at Corn Creek have included the appearance of mosquitofish on two occasions (they were chemically eradiacated after removal of poolfishes) and encroaching cattails (Minckley et al. 1991). Cattails in lower Corn Creek pond were treated with herbicide (Rodeo) with no observed detrimental effects on fishes (USFWS 1990, 1993). Non-native bullfrogs at Corn Creek do not appear to be preying on poolfishes (Minckley et al. 1991). Maintenance of the artesian wells at Shoshone Ponds has been a persistent management concern. See recovery plan (Kobetich et al. 1980).
Monitoring Requirements: Intensive monitoring is needed at all three refugia in order to interdict or prevent unauthorized introductions of non-native fishes (Minckley et al. 1991). Annual summer monitoring has occurred since the mid-1980s (USFWS 1993).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Killifishes (Cyprinodontids)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Each spring system that is undivided by a barrier constitutes a single distinct occurrence. Otherwise, use a separation distance of 10 km for any type of aquatic habitat.
Separation Justification: Separation distance is arbitrary. Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 29Nov2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Nov2011
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Grant, E. C., and B. R. Riddle. 1995. Are the endangered springfish (Crenichthys Hubbs) and poolfish (Empetrichthys Gilbert) fundulines or goodeids?: a mitochondrial DNA assessment. Copeia 1995:209-212.

  • Kobetich, G., et al. 1980. Pahrump killifish recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 29 pp.

  • La Rivers, I. 1962. Fishes and Fisheries of Nevada. Nevada State Fish and Game Commission, Carson City, Nevada. 782 pp.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • Matthews, J.R. and C.J. Moseley (eds.). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index. Volume 2. Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes, Mussels, Crustaceans, Snails, Insects, and Arachnids. xiii + pp. 561-1180. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

  • Miller, R. R., J. D. Williams, and J. E. Williams. 1989. Extinctions of North American fishes during the past century. Fisheries 14(6):22-38.

  • Miller, R.R., and M.L. Smith. 1986. Origin and geography of fishes on central Mexico. Pages 487-517 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, editors. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, New York. xiii + 866 pp.

  • Minckley, W. L., G. K. Meffe, and D. L. Soltz. 1991a. Conservation and management of short-lived fishes: the cyprinodontoids. Pages 247-82 in W. L. Minckley and J. E. Deacon (editors). Battle Against Extinction: Native Fish Management in the American West. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.

  • Minckley, W. L., and J. E. Deacon. 1991. Battle Against Extinction: Native Fish Management in the American West. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. xviii + 517 pp.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Parenti, L. R. 1981. A phylogenetic and biogeographic analysis of cyprinodontiform fishes (Teleostei, Atherinomorpha). Bulletin of the American Museum Natural History 168:335-557.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Sigler, W. F., and J. W. Sigler. 1987. Fishes of the Great Basin: a natural history. University of Nevada Press, Reno, Nevada. xvi + 425 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1967. Native fish and wildlife: endangered species. Federal Register 32(48):4001.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress. 406 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1993. Proposed reclassification of the Pahrump poolfish (Empetrichthys latos latos) from endangered to threatened status. Federal Register 58(182):49279-83.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2 April 2004. Withdrawal of proposed rule to reclassify the Pahrump poolfish (Empetrichthys latos) from endangered to threatened status. Federal Register 69(64):17383-17386.

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